I am sure we have all seen our fair share of romantic comedies (or Rom-Coms as the genre is popularly called) as movie fans and am sure that we have also enjoyed quite a few of them. To me some of the standout rom-coms in recent times are “The Proposal” starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, and “What happens in Vegas” starring Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher. Now while “Silver Linings Playbook” starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper has been classified in the rom-com genre, I seem to have issues with that classification.
Yes, granted that the movie has all the standard plot points that all rom-coms have. It has a recently widowed wife who has her own quirky way of dealing with the loss, a husband who was in a psychiatric hospital for having beat to pulp a History Teacher who was having an affair with his wife, their meeting per chance, their shared life experiences, the initial disdain for each other and their subsequent attraction for each other. Yes, the movie follows the journeys of these individuals in coping with their circumstances in life and their shared journey as they learn to grieve together and enjoy life together. But this movie is much more than just that story.
This movie is also about the relationship that Pat (Bradley Cooper) has with his parents, a loving mother who wants nothing but the best for both her sons, a caring father who uses American football and the Philadelphia Eagles to get closer to Pat, his successful brother who has nothing but love and respect for Pat. This movie is also about Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence, in her Oscar winning portrayal) dealing with the after effects of her behavior after she was widowed. This movie is about the wonderful little cameo role of Dr Cliff Patel (played by Anupam Kher) and how his gentle and unconventional methods manage to keep Pat under control. This movie is also about how Pat’s friend, Ronnie who is married to Tiffany’s sister is struggling under the pressure of a demanding marriage and how he copes with the same. The Silver Linings Playbook has all these wonderful little characters who play awesome supporting roles in the movie.
In his efforts to get back with his estranged wife Nikki, Pat resorts to reading up on English literature as she is an English Teacher in High School. And his manic obsession with this one aim is clearly shown when he reads book after book in one crazy sleepless night. His one chance at getting in touch with Nikki without breaching his restraining order would be Tiffany who is friends with Nikki and promises to deliver his letter to her in return for a favor. The favor was that Pat would have to partner Tiffany in an upcoming dance competition.
What follows thereof is a crazy sequence of events which leads to Pat’s father betting quite a lot of money on the Eagles beating the Cowboys and the dance competition on the same night. And how the movie wraps up all the loose ends is something that is quite enjoyable.
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence as the lead characters exude the optimum amount of chemistry required for the leading couple while Robert De Niro excels in what is probably one of the best supporting roles of his career (another one that immediately comes to mind is the character of Jack Brynes in the Meet the Parents, Meet the Fokkers series). He plays the role of Pat’s father to the hilt and the scene in which he speaks his mind out to Pat is where his true class is shown.
Therefore, simply for the reason that this movie deals with more than just the romantic angle between the protagonists, Silver Linings Playbook is more than just any other rom-com.